This past weekend has to be one of the strangest weekends of my life.
It started with me coming off of a grueling two-day program that had frankly, stressed me out. That meeting ended Friday at 2:00 PM at which time I headed straight home and got ready to drive two hours to a wedding. When I got home, I quickly changed, gave the au pair marching orders for delivering our 20-month old to the grandparents, and took off my wife and 5 year old son for the trip to Mankato where the wedding started at 5:30 PM. We were on the road by 3:30 PM.
So far so good.
Then the text from Orbitz came, “MSG: DL 848 to BOS cancelled.”
See, I was supposed to be flying out to Boston along with three other facilitators on Saturday to do a program on Sunday for a client. We had known that Hurricane Irene was closing in on the east coast, but the reports that I had seen didn’t have it near Boston until Sunday. Apparently Delta had some different information.
I had two main client contacts – I called them both up. No answer – so I left messages. I then e-mailed the clients from my i-phone with this message “Flights Cancelled. I just received a text saying our flight is cancelled due to hurricane Irene. I am checking on getting a different flight.” It was about 4:30 PM.
The message came back from the client at 4:41 PM, it said, “Thanks Kurt.”
Huh? I would have liked a little more information please.
Needless to say, I was working the phone and e-mail. I contacted Delta and instead of waiting for 42 to 54 minutes on hold, I had them give me a call back when my time was set. Over the course of the next 40 minutes I traded more e-mails with both clients. The meeting was still on – it seems like none of the participants were having any problems in getting into Boston (even though they were coming from around the world – Europe, Brazil, China, India and the U.S.). They must NOT have been flying Delta. I contacted my team of guys who were flying out there with me. I got a hold of two of them who were offering to help however they could.
So it was now about 5:20 PM and we were almost at the church. Then I got this text from our Au Pair, “Sitting outside Grandma and Grandpa’s for 45 minutes – no one is home to take baby.”
I now had another crisis on hand. Quickly texted back that we’d try to find the grandparents, gave a few unsuccessful calls to their home and cell phones when I received my call back from Delta service (it had been in the 42 to 54 minute range). The Delta rep searched for another option into Boston and came up with nothing available that could get us in either directly or through a connection. All the flights were either full or cancelled.
It was 5:33 the wedding was starting. I sat down in the pew and for the next 40 minutes tried to concentrate on the ceremonies. Luckily there was no cell phone service in the church so I wasn’t tempted to check e-mails every minute.
Once outside the church I scanned the e-mail and text barrage. A couple more e-mails from the client stating that the meeting was still happening. A few more from my facilitators wondering what they could do to help. A text from the Au Pair that she had gone home to feed the baby because our 20-month old had been hungry and thirsty.
I thought about pulling my hair out at this point but I’m bald – so that didn’t help.
At this point, my wife came outside and we discussed what we should do. We were prepared to go home to relieve the Au Pair. We tried calling the grandparents again. And I was thinking through various options for being able to work the program in Boston – I thought of maybe trying to rent a car to drive out to Boston, finding other facilitators in Boston who could conduct it, try to figure out a teleportation device that could beam us there directly. I was getting a little desperate.